Monday, May 12, 2014

how did I get here?

Have you ever looked around at your life and wondered, "How in the world did I get here?"

I know I have--please tell me I'm not alone!

I'm a planner and always have been, one of those girls who probably had a 5-year plan in kindergarten. I've made to-do lists and written out my goals (long term and short term, many times) and I've always known that things were supposed to work out just so.

For some reason, though, life has had a funny way of messing up my plans in the last 10 years. When I look around today, there's really not much that looks like the picture I had planned.

I never in my life dreamed of getting my Bachelor's degree in physics.
I didn't see myself still in school the year I turn 30.
I didn't see us living in a rented house 10 years into our marriage.
I didn't see myself working on a Master's in diagnostic medical physics.
I didn't see old furniture (as in, already old when we bought it in 2005).
I didn't see a headstone with my brother's name.
I didn't see missing the birth of my sister's baby girl.
I didn't see miles of student loan debt.
I didn't see us living in Ohio where things are so much different than I'm used to.

I've been knocked for a loop quite a few times by things I would have never seen coming:
a death
a medical diagnosis
a job I thought I would stay in forever but didn't
changes of major
grad school program confusion
the sudden retirement of a respected advisor
financial crashes
a roller coaster marriage
crises of faith

At the same time, though, there are so many good things I would never have dreamed possible:
two blonde-haired, blue eyed babies who are beyond amazing
a close family brought even closer through tragedy
three books published and a fourth on the way
a BS in physics and a MSBS in diagnostic medical physics in progress
a husband who values me more than I deserve
parents who will always put my needs before their own
a foundation of faith that has stayed steady through the crises
adventures and stories from Oregon to Ohio

There have been a lot of storms through the years, ones that had me desperately fighting to keep my head above water as the waves crashed around me. There have been times I've wanted to just give up, to let myself sink down below the waves and just let life overpower me.

When I look back, though, there has been one constant through it all:
all those times when I thought I was treading water and just managing to keep my head above water, it wasn't really me doing it.

All those times, God was holding me up.

It's like a memory I have from when I was little and we went to visit Aunt Brenda in Virginia Beach. She had carried me out into the water and we were watching the waves, jumping over the swells that came in towards the shore. At one point she told me, "Mandy, look! Here comes a big one!" I can remember looking to see a wave towering over us, and before I knew it the water had crashed down on top of us as we stood just off shore. For a moment I was lost under water, not sure which way was up and terrified for that instant that the wave would over power me and I would drown.

But then we came out the other side, my aunt's arms still tightly around me. I was sputtering a bit, but I didn't have anything to worry about--I was safe.

When I see the storms I've weathered in the past 10 years, it's a lot like that. The waves may be crashing over me, but God has me held tightly in His arms. Even when I'm lost under the wave and can't tell which way is up, He's right there--and I'm safe.

1 comment:

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